Adventures in Sock Design: Episode One- A Bad Start

I’ve been knitting for some time now, eight years, give or take. During that time, I’ve tried my hand at designing some really simple projects, mainly iPod cozies, and modified some designs, like Sophie’s Avatar inspired hoodie. However, I never really have tried to create something of my own design from the ground up.


For my first ground up design attempt, I’m doing something very familiar to me, socks. I’ve made lots of socks (lots of socks by my standards, not by a professional knitters standards) so I know the basic elements that go into the creation of a sock. I know roughly how many stitches to cast on, how to make a cuff, how to knit a heel flap, how to turn a heel, the amount of gusset stitches to pick up, and how to decrease for a toe. 


I’ve been wanting to design my own socks for awhile, but lacked that final kick in the pants motivation to actually start designing. My mom frequently requests socks from me, and her birthday is at the end of the month. So, a perfect chance to try my hand at designing.


Anyone who has met my mother knows, she is a huge die-hard fan of the Green Bay Packers. So what better for a birthday gift than a pair of Packer socks. Find some green yarn and some gold yarn, do a little stranded color work or striping, and easy-peasy a pair of socks.


Right?

The colors look better in real life!



Wrong. I should know by now, if something is easy in my head there is no chance that it will actually be easy. 




My first hurdle came in finding the correct color of sock yarn. I flipped through catalog after catalog and poured over websites with no luck. Anything I found in the right shade wasn’t the right weight or was way too expensive. Finally I came across the Solid Series by the Loopy Ewe. This sock yarn comes in 90 different colors, including Kelly Green and Sunshine Yellow, which turned out to be the perfect colors that I needed. 


Inspiration Pile

I had my yarn, the next step was to pour over my resources for inspiration and ideas. I had an idea about what I wanted to do, but needed to look around and be sure. Armed with a clipboard and some knitter’s graph paper (normal graph paper has squares, but knit stitches are not square), several patterns, and Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks for reference, I began to sketch, erase, doodle, and curse. 


I had my ideas, yarn, needles, and some scribbled notes that would start to serve as my pattern, I was ready to cast on. I cruised along through the first cuff, and a stripe and started on my first chart. That’s when the next problem cropped up. When I cast on, I used 64 stitches, but for some reason my chart was based on 65 stitches. Some minor modifications and onward. The I realized that when following the chart, I needed to account for a cuff-down sock essentially coming out upside down. Another rip back and more modifications.


Then I started making real progress. I finished working the first chart and the next stripe underneath it. Then, I tried on the sock to check the fit (my mom and I have about the same sized feet), and couldn’t get the sock past my heel. When working the stranded colorwork, I didn’t think about stretching the float (the yarn carried behind the work) enough to account for the stretch of the knitted fabric. 


And now we’re ripping it out and trying again.

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One comment

  1. What a great project–your Mom is so lucky! 🙂 Since I'm spending lots of time sitting around and waiting for a baby, it's nice to have a little entertainment. 🙂 I love the socks, and she will too! Especially all the work that went into it!

    Like

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